Lamina cribosa, an astrocyte-rich region, is the origin of axonal degeneration in glaucomatous neuropathy. Astrocytes are particularly activated during optic nerve (ON) degeneration and are likely to contribute to the pathogenesis of glaucomatous optic neuropathy. Signalling mechanisms that regulate different aspects of astrocyte reactiviation in response to intraocular hypertensive injury are not well defined. Signal transducer and activator of transcription protein-3 (STAT3) is a transcription factor that participates in many biological processes and has been implicated as activator of reactive astrogliosis. In this study, we investigated the role of STAT3 in regulating the activation of astrocytes to transient intraocular hypertension in vivo by using a rat ocular hypertension model. ON astrocytes hypertrophy was observed early after intraocular hypertensive stress. Morphological changes in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) positive cells coupled with axon loss in the optic nerve was detected at day 7 after the injury. Nestin was significantly upregulated in ON astrocytes as early as day 2 post injury and kept elevated through post injury day 7. Phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) was markedly upregulated in ON astrocytes at post injury day 1, prior to the reactivation of ON astrocytes. These findings indicate that STAT3 signalling is involved in the initiation of astrocyte reactivation in optic nerve injury. © 2013 Zhang et al.
Zhang, S., Li, W., Wang, W., Zhang, S. S., Huang, P., & Zhang, C. (2013). Expression and Activation of STAT3 in the Astrocytes of Optic Nerve in a Rat Model of Transient Intraocular Hypertension. PLoS ONE, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055683